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Travel

New 3-D app shows what Rome looked like over the centuries

The Roman Forum, cradle of the biggest empire of the ancient world, has been recreated in stunning 3-D detail by an app that not only shows the site in its original glory, but also chronicles its collapse through time.

Trajansforum auf den Piazza Venezia in Rom

Trajan's Forum today

Remnants of columns, stones and arches - whoever visits the Roman Forum these days needs to have a lot of imagination to conjure an idea of how this place looked in the past. But now for just under 5 euro you can download the Imperial Fora App in English or Italian on your tablet or smart phone to help travel back in time.

Trajansforum in 3D Rekonstruktion EINSCHRÄNKUNG BEACHTEN

Trajan's Forum as it looked in 125 AD

As you tour the site this app enables you to see what it looked like in the past, so you can compare it with what is still visible today. The app in 3-D shows you the site at the height of the empire in 125 AD, as well as how it looked in the early Renaissance in 1450 - then its decline at the end of the baroque period in 1750. It also shows the site in 1815, when the forum began to be excavated on Napoleon's orders.

"The Imperial Fora app allows everybody to appreciate how Rome evolved from ancient times to today," says Sergio Fontana, an archaeologist who lead a team of academics, graphic designers and IT experts that worked on the project for five years. Professor Daniele Manacorda of Roma Tre University commended it as a "very well researched, but also very accessible" product that should help do away with old-school, "snooty-nosed" approaches to archaeology. He said it was an imperative to popularize ancient history in order to mobilize public support for conservation.

ey/at/sb (dpa, 3drome.it)